caged birds tattoo, PTSD, recovery, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

Reaching the Best F*cking Peace Anyone Could Ask For

caged birds tattooHow necessary is forgiveness in your journey to finding peace? Many believe being able to forgive yourself and the sociopath is the ONLY path to real healing and peace. And everyone has their opinion about what true forgiveness means and will try imposing their understanding of forgiveness onto you.

I don’t think that is fair, so I’d like to offer some relief:

There is no definitive solution or recipe to reach the peace true forgiveness brings. The moment you feel the relief in your heart, you will know it instinctively. The peace will wash over you. The grudges or resentments you have will simply be gone.

The flood of peace comes naturally and suddenly, but we must work for peace.

You know what they say about a watched pot never boiling? The same is true for peace and forgiveness. If you keep harboring on why you haven’t found peace and wondering why forgiveness is so elusive, they will NEVER arrive. What you must do is “get busy living or get busy dying.” (I love Shawshank Redemption.) Because relying solely on your wishes and hopes for peace and forgiveness won’t bring them to you. There are real actions that you must take also.

Wishing and hoping are beautiful but solve nothing on their own. If all you do is sit around wishing and hoping for peace, you remove yourself from reality. Removing yourself from reality is what you did in the relationship, wishing and hoping things would change. They never changed, did they?

I’m not saying to stop wishing and hoping. I’m recommending that you add action to those thoughts.

Do things that bring you immediate joy and happiness.

Take long walks. Read a great book. Watch a movie. Plant a garden. Learn to Tango.

Go to a concert. Get tickets to see your favorite sports team live. Sign up for a boot-camp workout. Become a vegetarian. Pickup your instrument again.

Do something you have always wanted to do but were either too afraid or too tired to try. Do something you were always discouraged from doing or shamed for attempting while in the toxic relationship.

Doing something new and for you helps to refocus and redirect your mind. When we refocus and redirect our minds, we’re teaching ourselves to think differently about ourselves and the world around us. We naturally begin to reprogram our mind to think mindfully and more positively. We are in charge and in control. Being in charge and in control of ourselves is a path to peace.

Once I stopped shaming and blaming myself for everything that went wrong in the toxic relationship, I found the strength and energy to step outside of myself and my routine. I created a new routine, a new model of me. A better routine, a better model of me. A healthier routine, a healthier model of me.

Taking control of myself and my routine has resulted in becoming a better person, mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. And my routine changes all the time! My routine is routinely changing! The one constant, however, is my peace of mind.

The peace I feel knowing I am not hurting anyone.

The peace I feel knowing I am not hurting myself.

The peace I feel knowing no one is hurting me.

But most importantly, the peace I feel knowing that there is no one trying to convince me that I am hurting myself or anyone else while they hurt me.

That’s the best f*cking peace anyone could ask for and that peace is reachable for us all.

Namaste!

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/357895501608115854/)

mother and child

An Open Apology to The Mother of the Narcissistic Sociopath

mother and childOn the heals of leaving the boy in my story and trying to make sense of what happened, I spoke of and wrote about how much I believed his mother was just as sick and equally responsible. Now I understand she really had no choice but to enable her “unreachable” son.

The boy’s mother learned how to “take” her son’s abuse, which more than likely began at a very, very young age. One story the boy seemed especially proud to tell was of a time when he was 5 or 6, and his mother sought help from a psychiatrist. His mother was baffled by the boy’s behavior and needed to know what she could do about it and if there was hope for it to change.

The boy described that visit to the psychiatrist with enthusiasm and glee. He told the story in expressive soliloquy-style, bubbling with great animation accompanied by a chuckle here and a smirk there.

(I can’t deny that I was mesmerized by his presentation. It was flippin’ Oscar-worthy! He came to life when he told it—much like he did any time he reminisced about his past diabolical behavior).

During that visit to the doctor, the boy destroyed the psychiatrist’s office. He claims the doctor sat there stoically talking to his mother as the boy transformed the once neat and orderly room into a sea of tossed books, papers and chairs. Nothing was left untouched or unmoved.  The boy described the aftermath as an absolute mess and disaster.

And he received zero punishment or consequences.

For the boy, this remains one of his proudest pieces of personal history. To him, he had accomplished something noteworthy that day.

That day IS noteworthy. I agree. It was the day he and everyone else in his life set the stage for the boy’s life journey. It’s the day he realized he could do any f*cking thing he wanted to do and get away with it.

According to the boy, the psychiatrist told his mother that he was just a boy and his behavior was normal. He’d grow out of it.

Normal, huh? Grow out of it, huh? I highly doubt that’s what the doctor said. I think that’s what his mother wanted to believe, because the truth was too much to bare—her son had a serious behavioral issue and a lot of time, counseling and resources were needed to fix it.

After that incident, his mother pretty much gave up fighting him. Instead, she allowed his behavior. Why?

I suspect for the same reason any of us would: Who wants to believe there is anything seriously wrong with their child? Who wants to accept some negative, mental-health label? How much guilt is connected in doing that? How much social stigma is attached to that?

How, then, was she able to allow the behavior?

Again, I can only speculate, but based on how detached she was from him as an adult, I suspect she began detaching herself from him when he was just 5 or 6.

She worked a lot. Traveled solo a lot. Helped her husband with his business a lot. Bottom line, she kept busy with menial tasks, so she didn’t have time to mother her son beyond providing him with shelter, food and other basics.

And so the boy’s shitty behavior was free to grow, prosper and escalate. He had no reason to change or better himself (not that it would have happened even if she had decided to mother and nurture him more).

To this day, his mother remains detached and enabling. She still keeps busy, busy busy doing absolutely, f*cking nothing.

But she is always there to bail him out. From financial pinches to relationship disasters. She’s the one who took in his ex-fiancée when he kicked her out as he tried moving me in. She was his buffer. His saving grace. His mother defuses his shittiness and allows him to go about his life “business as usual.”

The guy is a loser but looks like a success because his mother, whom he lacks total respect for, chose a long time ago not to challenge him or his behavior. If she had, she probably would have ended up on the other side of one of his rages, the rages reserved for his girlfriends, fiancées and any future, unfortunate wives he might fool.

I can’t say that I blame his mother for saving herself from being on the receiving end of his rages. It’s not a pleasant place to be. I’m sorry I ever blamed her.

So peace to his mother. May she one day find the courage to finally stand up to him and maybe run away, too.

Namaste!

(image source)

Armando and Paula

Letting Go of our Desperate Need for Justice

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After leaving the sociopath, I fought my anger related to the injustices against me and, in particular, my son.

After about 18 months, I was able to finally let go of the abuses against me, because I understood that the sociopath could not help himself. Causing harm is what feeds the sociopath. Making people doubt their worth and goodness gets them off. I accepted that and realized the sociopath was not a person I would ever want back in my life or my family’s life. I knew I would never receive an apology or anything close to justice. So, I let go.

But letting go of the abuses against my son has been more difficult.

How do you explain to a child that the treatment against the child was not the child’s fault but the fault of a sick and twisted human being?

As parents, we are supposed to teach our children about love and forgiveness. We are supposed to be models for our children.

How was I to expect my son to forgive the sociopath if I did not forgive the sociopath? After all, only people worthy of love and friendship deserve our forgiveness. If a relationship was built on quicksand, there is no foundation for personal forgiveness, in my opinion. And generally, forgiveness means we understand that the person who committed the offense against us will never commit that same offense against us in the future. We trust the person.

With a sociopath, there is no trust, so there is no forgiveness.

But I was able to forgive myself for putting my son in harm’s way, for exposing him to the darkest human type in existence.

I apologized a lot to my son. I talked to my son about trust and expectations of those who love you. I talked to him about shame and blame.

But I also held back from telling my son the truth about the sociopath. Can a 5-, 6- or 7-year-old really understand that kind of evil? Do children have the capacity, without the life expereince, to understand evil among us?

My son knows I wrote a book. He can read and has read the title, but he doesn’t know it’s about “Mommy’s” experience. One day he will read my book and have lots of questions…or maybe he won’t.

Maybe by the time he is able to sit down and read my book cover-to-cover he will have completely forgotten about the sociopath and that the sociopath is the boy in my story.

My son’s forgetting would be the ultimate justice.

Peace! ~Paula

(with my son on his 2nd birthday)

unconditional love

The Final Straw (one of many in a short span of time) that led me to finally escape the Sociopath

unconditional love

(I allude to what finally led to my escape in my book. But I do not detail any particular conversations or confrontations with the sociopath. I purposely keep it vague. My Facebook Page and this blog are where I have disclosed most of the details.)

Two weeks before I left the sociopath, I discovered I was pregnant. I didn’t want to tell him at first and waited a few days before I slapped the pregnancy test on the arm of his chair and walked back to the bedroom.

I was petrified of what his response would be. He had always spoken about how he wanted to have children and to especially have a little girl who looked just like me. But I saw how he treated my son and witnessed his equally sick brother raise his niece. I was torn. I had always wanted a sibling for my son but I couldn’t imagine exposing a child to such a deranged father.

He immediately came back to the bedroom to confront me. I was chastised for the manner in which I informed him. He didn’t think being dropped a stick with a plus sign on it was very tasteful. (Well, fuck you!) And then he proceeded to tell me all of the things I was doing wrong with regards to what I ate and my depression and my drinking (of which I had stopped as soon as I discovered my pregnancy).

It didn’t matter that I was suffering from severe nausea. I could barely sit up. I explained repeatedly that I was not feeling well and could we discuss this later. I was on the verge of vomiting, but he seemed unmoved. He was more pissed because he was out of the loop, perhaps? Hated that I had control, perhaps?

And that’s the issue. I never wanted control. I just wanted to be left alone so I could relax and feel better. Each time I went to put my head on the pillow he grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me to sit up. It took everything inside of me not to vomit. I have no idea how I was able to keep from crying, but I sat there emotionless and just observed his craziness.

And it got worse.

He told me that I would NEVER hold that child, as he pointed to my belly. He said he would convince a judge that I was unfit, depressed and alcoholic. He said the baby would never be in my arms because he would take it right from my hospital bed. (Again, fuck you!)

I remained speechless.

He must have worn himself out, because he finally laid his head on his pillow. I was still sitting up! He rolls over and says he was just kidding about taking away the baby.

I thought to myself, “It’s a bit too late for that apology, cocksucker.

I knew better than to believe anything he said at that point, especially when it came to manipulating my emotions with his empty apologies.


His treatment of my son (detailed more in my book) and how he behaved at the news of possibly having one of his own with me makes it hard for me not to hate him and remain bitter. I’m sure with a little more time and work that the last remnants of hate will dissipate.

I am able to let go of his treatment of me, but not of my child. I think that’s why in the beginning, soon after leaving him, I was so adamant about finding his new girlfriends to warn them. I wouldn’t wish the pain of the relationship on anyone.

But now I don’t even bother. They must figure it out the hard way.

As for my pregnancy, it only lasted 12 weeks. I had a miscarriage a few weeks after leaving him. I wouldn’t claim to feel lucky as much as I felt relieved.

Before the miscarriage, I was a wreck worrying if I would be able to protect the child. I had horrible visions of being separated from the child. Nightmares. Cold sweats. Visions of the child hating me because the sociopath had brainwashed the child against me.

So much anxiety filled me after he threatened to keep the child from me. I was on the verge of losing my mind.

I do believe the miscarriage was fate. I’d like to think the child’s soul was in control and chose to move on. I don’t know. It’s how I cope with the loss.

The sociopath would tell everyone I lost the child because I didn’t take care of myself or that I got an abortion. Honestly, so what if I didn’t take care of myself or have an abortion? My child is no longer suffering and either am I.

~Namaste!

(Image source: Elephant Journal)

“I say vagina. You say what?” #elephantjournal

My latest Elephant Journal article:
I say vagina. You say what?

I say vagina. You say what? ~Paula Carrasquillo

Vagina, vagina, vagina! Penis, penis, penis!

Do you have a vagina or a penis? Maybe you have both? Maybe you had one but now have the other?

Who knows.

Regardless, I will assume everyone reading this has at least one of these two organs. I do and live with it every day.

I was born with it; it’s there when I wake up and it’s there when I go to bed. It is a natural part of me as a human being—it is what defines my gender and is at the core of my identity.

I call my private part a vagina. What do you call yours?…That’s nice.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in the United States who prefer that we not educate our children using these anatomically-correct words, “vagina” and “penis,” to describe our private parts. Read more…

Alice Olive Paula

The Versatile Blogger Award and a few things about myself…

Paula's Pontifications receives the Versitile Blogger Award

It’s award season, for sure! I was very sick (I think it was the flu) for roughly 17 days straight recently. Hit with fever, body aches, and belly aches. I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to feel better. But I do, and the past few days I received encouraging and motivating feedback from the members of the blogging community. In addition to the two awards given to me last week, I was blessed with another one yesterday: The Versatile Blogger Award!

This award was passed on to my blog, Paula’s Pontifications, by Madeline Laughs of Spread Information ~ Stop the Madness blog, which “supports the fact that everyone has a story to tell.” Thank you, Madeline Laughs and Spread Information!

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog. Check!
  • Thank and Link back to the person who nominated you. Check!
  • State 7 things about yourself. Check!
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for this award. Not in this post. I have many fellow bloggers to recognize and will dedicate a post later this week to them.
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back. See above.

Seven things about me:

  1. Alice Olive PaulaAs a young(er) woman, I was often told that I reminded people of Olive Oyl. More accurately, that I looked like Shelly Duvall’s character in the Popeye movie. Remember Popeye? Now, people tell me I look like Alice (Milla Jovovich) from the Resident Evil films. I don’t know. I don’t get it, really. How about you? Hehe!
  2. I love scary movies. Why? I have no idea, but I read that it may have something to do with my need to stimulate a part of my brain that is normally not stimulated. However, I admit I took a VERY long and much-needed break from them in my recent past. I wonder why?
  3. While a graduate student, I was also a member of AmeriCorps and worked at a community corrections facility (also referred to as a half-way house), where I taught male and female inmates GED, ABE, Life Skills, and Computer training, among other things. The organization I worked for also has a WordPress blog. Check it out!: Community Educational Outreach.
  4. As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming an architect. I wanted to design and build things. That dream didn’t come true. Instead, my studies focused on writing and communication and adult education. Today, I design and build (and sometimes rebuild) websites. They call it information architecture, and I love doing it and learning more about it every day.
  5. I play the saxophone and the violin. Well…I used to play them. I’d like to start practicing again and maybe take a few lessons along with my son. I think he wants to play the trombone.
  6. One day I would love to live near the mountains and the sea at the same time. I have lived in the mountains of Colorado, Maine, and Maryland. I have spent many vacations on the coast and near water. I love both and can’t decide, so why not treat myself  and my family to both at once?
  7. I don’t like writing about myself. I like writing. Just not about myself. I’m slowly getting over that fear.

Namaste!

Self-love, the Golden Rule, and the Triangulation Trap

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One of the most annoying characteristics of my pathological relationship with the boy in my story was his repeated plea: “I NEED you to love me.”

The first time he said it I was annoyed and responded, “That’s sad, because I don’t NEED you to love me.”

I was ready to leave the relationship when he said this the first time. How pathetic must a person be to make such a ridiculous statement? But as his crocodile tears fell and his wails and cries overtook my senses, I was fooled into thinking that real love was about needing each other, and I should need him as much as he needed me. He proclaimed that I was heartless and cruel if I didn’t see it that way.

Being considered heartless and cruel was not how I wanted to leave the relationship. I was hell-bent on proving I was neither of those things. BIG MISTAKE!!! I should have been okay with his assessment of me, but I wasn’t okay with it. I had my own doubts and insecurities. My self-love was definitely not where it should have been, which allowed me to be so vulnerable to the boy’s abuse in the first place.

After escaping, it took me many months to re-build the self-love that was lost and to finally establish the extra self-love that had eluded me for so many years. I now have the confidence to accept and to be okay with the negative opinions others have of me.

Sometimes the negative reactions come from someone I love dearly (like my husband) who sometimes disagrees with something I have said or done. His words are accepted as constructive criticism, and I roll with it and change the way I express myself and communicate. We both do. Valuable and healthy relationships require work and natural give-and-take.

Other times I learn that the person who has reacted negatively and often OVER reacts negatively to things I say or do (like the wife of a friend) has always been fishing for reasons to lash out and point a shameful finger my way. Why? Because she didn’t want to build a friendship or relationship with me in the first place. She is sadly disordered and immature. Instead of engaging her, I choose to ignore her. Nothing I say or do will change her mind. I’m okay with that. I choose my battles, as they say.

In addition to learning how to be okay with what others think of me, my journey of healing and change has also taught me how to protect myself from future harm and to avoid harming others. I admit to inflicting harm upon the boy. I called him nasty names and yelled at him and avoided him. I even tossed a chair at him on one occasion. I behaved badly and regret my part and am accountable for it.

But there is no excuse for abuse even when it is reactionary. No one deserves to be called names even if they called us names first. No one deserves to be ignored even if they choose to ignore us first. No one deserves to be made to feel like trash even though they tossed us outside as if we were garbage ourselves.

We learn how we should treat others as early as grade school. It’s the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Unfortunately, I lost sight of this valuable lesson when I was thrust into a crazy-making relationship with the boy. Everyone loses sight of this lesson with abusers because no one is immune to the negative effects a relationship with a disordered and pathological person has on our spirits. There are no exceptions. We are all susceptible.

Fortunately, there is a way to never lose sight of this rule again: learn to recognize the warning signs of abusers BEFORE establishing a relationship.

Below is an example of a technique used by nearly every abuser in the early “get-to-know-you” period: Triangulation. (By no means is this the ONLY technique. It’s just the most common and one I have read and heard repeatedly from victims.)

Triangulation is used by abusers to assess your vulnerabilities and your ability to empathize. How you react immediately cues the abuser in to whether or not you’re a good target and easily influenced. The more moldable you seem, the more likely the abuser will be attracted to you and pursue a deeper connection. A successful triangulation sets the stage for future interactions and manipulations. If you recognize this happening, run in the opposite direction.

Example of Triangulation

You meet someone. He talks negatively about a person you have never met and uses phrases like “Don’t you think?” and “Can you believe it?” The abuser wants you to agree with his negative assessment of someone else’s behavior. He wants you to make an unfair judgment about someone you haven’t even met!

Why? For starters, he needs validation. Abusers are insecure losers, remember? In addition, he needs ammunition. More than likely you’ll one day meet the person he is talking about, and you’ll probably like that person. If you do end up becoming friends with that person, the abuser can use your initial opinion of the person against you even though it wasn’t an opinion at all. It was just you being conversational.

Triangulation techniques are unfair, but they’re meant to be. Don’t get sucked in!! Instead of nodding in agreement and adding fuel to his negative fire, say something like,

“It’s too bad you feel the way you do about your sister-in-law. Maybe you should talk to her about how you feel. I don’t know her, so I don’t think I can help you.”

Maybe throw in another statement like,

“It seems like it can be easily resolved between the two of you.”

I know what you’re thinking. “Who are you trying to fool, Paula?!” We know abusers aren’t interested in a resolution; they enjoy their crazy-making, but suggesting this might cause a disordered and pathological abuser to run from YOU! Who knows. It’s worth a try.

Remember, if the abuser is willing to throw a close relative under the bus, he’ll surely have no hesitation in throwing you under it, too. And once you’re IN the relationship, avoiding agreement in a discussion built on triangulation techniques will simply make the abuser rage at you. Triangulation is a repeated technique and tool used to get validation. If the abuser doesn’t get it, you’re in for an evening of pain and suffering.

Don’t play this game in the first place. Maintain your self-love and remember the Golden Rule when you find yourself being triangulated. Your dedication to behaving well will be a total turn off to the abuser. Go you!

Namaste!

(image source: mentalhealth.net)

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